2014-11-21 / Obituaries

Johnnie Martel

Johnnie E. Martel, 68, passed away at Gosnell Hospice in Scarborough, peacefully surrounded by his loving family on Nov. 8, 2014. A lifelong resident of the Kennebunks, he married his soulmate, Judith A. Drown in 1968 and they just celebrated their 46th anniversary in October.

Johnnie was born to Johnnie Ann (Carroll) and Reginald Francis Martel on Nov. 2, 1946 in Biddeford. He has one brother, R. Timothy Martel of Topsham.

Johnnie’s love of family and friends was precious to him, and he touched every one that he met. He loved music and singing, and played trombone since he was a child.

Graduating from Kennebunk High School in 1965, he then went to serve in Vietnam in 1967-68. He was combat infantry, with his “brothers” of Co. A 2nd of the 12th division, and later was in special operations with the Wolfhounds, receiving a very special Wolfhounds citation, personally handed to him by Gen. Westmoreland, who told him, “don’t ever lose this, soldier.”

After serving in the war, he came home and married his high school sweetheart, Judie Drown in 1968, and was hired by D’Ascanio Heating and Plumbing , employed there for eight years. In 1975, he and Judie started Martel Electrical Contracting and he worked as owner/master electrician until his disabilities required him to close the business in 1993.

He had been very successful, and among his clients were President George H.W. Bush and the Secret Service in Kennebunkport.

He and the senior Bush became fast friends and loved to play horseshoes together at Walker’s Point. The president flew him on Air Force One to Texas for the annual American Legion Convention. Johnnie was Commander at the Kennebunkport American Legion for over 10 years and gave his time to help other veterans get the help they needed, often driving them up to Togus to the V. A.

He loved music and he and Judie loved to sing and give parties. Their love and music were the center of their marriage. Then Jennifer Lynn was born, and James Timothy, their daughter and son. Life was a joy.

Later, they were blessed with a granddaughter, Jane Elizabeth, who became the “Apple of Grandpa’s eye,” and they started pulling antique tractors together when she was only 6. They won many trophies and ribbons together.

Then, their son and wife gave them two more grandchildren whom he adored, Jackson James and Julia Evangeline, ages 2 and 1. Johnnie felt so blessed and his life was full of love and joy.

He attended the University of Southern Maine on the GI Bill and he and Judie went together to classes. They also learned tennis and loved to play often. Their family time was precious to him and they volunteered in Little League and scouting and spent years serving in all their children’s activities.

Johnnie’s disabilities were getting worse, but he never complained or stopped his hobbies and family gatherings. He lived his life to the fullest. The war years were taking their toll on him with severe migraines, PTSD, neuropathy, constant skin cancers and later, Agent Orange appeared, and the cancer it caused was his downfall.

His love of people, family and friends and his veteran brothers gave him so much joy. His love of his Army brothers continues to this day.

He was a member/commander of the Kennebunkport American Legion Post 159, Arundel Masonic Lodge No. 76, life member of the DAV and the VFW. Also Maine Antique Tractors, and Antique Garden Tractors of Maine and the Make a Wish Foundation.

Johnnie is survived by his wife, Judie, of 46 years, his daughter Jennifer Lynn Martel-Pettit and her husband Gerald and their precious Jane Elizabeth, and his son, James Timothy Martel, his wife Renee’ and their two precious children, Jackson James and Julia Evangeline. His brother R. Timothy Martel and wife Beverly and their son, Dr. John William Martel and wife, Christine and three beautiful children, his aunt Cis (Lois) Hunt and husband Wes Hunt of Suffolk, Virginia, and aunt Fran Martel of Michigan, and many beloved cousins around the country.

He is predeceased by his mother, Johnnie Ann (Carroll) and father Reginald Francis Martel, aunt Elizabeth O’ Brien and uncle Harold O’Brien, aunt Nathalie and Francis Chick and Uncle Gordon Martel Sr.

There will be a private burial with immediate family.

A Masonic service and a Legion service will be held at the Kennebunkport American Legion Hall on the corner of Old Cape Road and School Street in Kennebunkport (across from Kennebunkport Police Dept.) on Saturday, Nov. 22, 2014 at 1 p.m., followed by a memorial service.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Make A Wish Foundation – Maine, 477 Congress St. Portland, ME 04101 or the Animal Welfare Society, PO Box 43, West Kennebunk, ME 04094.

Arrangements are in care of Bibber Memorial Chapel, Kennebunk.

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